Before we can even start to brainstorm design solutions and creative approaches to our work—the most fun part of any project—we have to have the right people on board. We recently went back to the drawing board for some self-reflection on what makes a good design team. It comes down to the creatives on staff. The people at Epstein are top-notch individuals, but all have a similar core that makes them stand-out designers. When we’re looking for talent, we have to ask four things.

#1: Tell us about pertinent experience with similar projects.

It helps to see a portfolio of work that backs up a person’s skills. Different designers that specialize in web, print, mixed media, and film make for a diverse team that makes the firm stronger. We have to know if a designer’s areas of expertise fill the gaps in ours.

#2: What kind of experience do you have in the design field?

Similarly, the more someone has worked, the more they can build up a design credit score that guarantees they’re a safe bet for important clients to invest important work in. While practice does usually make a designer better, an especially talented and exceptionally motivated person with limited experience can also be a worthwhile risk.

#3: How are you with deadlines?

It can be important for us to deny our inner artists’ urge to wait for a muse or for a creative mood to strike when under a tight deadline. Client satisfaction is key for a designer in the business of pleasing people, and delaying a project is not our style. A person who can produce quality work on any given timeline is an asset to the team.

#4: May we call your references and talk to past clients?

Colleagues and clients offer very different perspectives on a designer’s style. Hearing about a person’s process can be even more informative than seeing the finished product, and getting feedback from managers and clients a designer works for as well as coworkers he or she works with is illuminating.